Portadown woman receives BEM

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Maureen McAdam has been awarded the BEM on two counts – a lifetime of service to the Girl Guide Movement in County Armagh (since she was just seven), and continuous service to Portadown Ladies Choir since 1953.

She joined St Mark’s (1st Portadown) Brownies when the legendary Flossie Woods was in charge, and after progressing through the Guides became the leader (Brown Owl). Initially there 30 little girls under her wing. But in its heyday, there were three packs at St Mark’s (about 100 in all) with Maureen one of three Brown Owls, the others being Maureen Johnston and Eithne Sloan.

Her greatest moment as a Guide was in 1953 when she represented the County at the Coronation in London and was positioned at the very gates of Buckingham Palace for “a great close-up view of the Golden Coach and the Queen leaving for Westminster Abbey – an experience I’ll never forget.”

Maureen was later appointed District Commissioner of Portadown East. She joined the Ladies Choir in Coronation Year, under its founder conductor John Donnan, organist at her ‘home’ church St Mark’s. She is a mezzo soprano and was chairperson in 1968-70. And she has been honorary secretary since 1977.

She is the daughter of the legendary Albert Wilson and Lottie Wilson of Savoy Orchestra fame and is the mother of two sons .Said Maureen – “The BEM came as a total surprise. And it’s an award for everyone who has been such a help to me on both counts over such a long period.”

Her job outside singing and Guiding was 42 years as a legal secretary with the Thompson practice (Harold and Peter) in Mandeville Street.